Hong Kong’s new Arbitration Ordinance (Cap 609) came into effect on June 1 of this year. The ordinance, largely based on the UNCITRAL model law on International Commercial Arbitration, will make Hong Kong an attractive venue for international arbitration and dispute resolution. The Model Law regime brings together many widely accepted principles of arbitration practice and is familiar to practitioners in both common and civil law jurisdictions. With Hong Kong as an increasingly dynamic conjunction point for trade between Mainland China and the rest of the world, the new ordinance will pave the way for effective international dispute settlement in the region.
The Secretary for Justice in Hong Kong, Mr. Wong Yang Lun, recently announced the promulgation of the new Arbitration Ordinance in Hong Kong at a recent talk held at the ICC offices in November. He noted that the Ordinance, which draws on the UN Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, also permits arbitrators to act as mediators prior to or following an arbitration, provided that all parties agree. Section 32 covers the appointment of mediators in an arbitration agreement. It provides that “no objection can be made against an arbitrator solely on the basis that the same person had acted previously as a mediator in the dispute.” Similarly, Section 33 provides that an arbitrator “may act as a mediator after the arbitration has commenced provided all parties consent in writing.”